Playing his first game of the season following a one-game suspension against Liberty due to hazing allegations, sophomore cornerback Brian Walker wasn’t made available despite making two of the biggest plays that lifted the Tar Heels in pivotal moments.
“We made enough mistakes to lose the game,” Coach Larry Fedora said.
But Walker’s ability to shine in the tensest of times allowed the Tar Heels (2-0, 0-0 ACC) to eek out a victory.
After the first quarter didn’t even see either team make a trip to the red zone, the Aztecs (1-1, 0-0 MWC) finally found their way inside the Tar Heel 20-yard line four minutes into the second quarter.
With the threat of giving up the first points of the game staring them in the face, the Tar Heels needed to make a stand.
“We did let up some big plays, which is something we need to correct,” linebacker Jeff Schoettmer said. “But once you get in the red zone, it’s the same as the open field. We can still shut them out.”
But the Tar Heels did more than just shut the Aztecs out in that drive.
With help from Schoettmer, who put pressure on quarterback Quinn Kaehler, Walker plucked a pick in the end zone and ran it back the length of the field to make it a 7-0 game after the extra kick was good.